Michael Jones, Chair                                        
Board of Directors, Save Our Shores

Erica Donnelly-Greenan, Incoming Executive Director 
831-419-7426 (cell)


September 9, 2021


Local marine vertebrate ecologist and nonprofit leader Erica Donnelly-Greenan selected as Executive Director

New Director promises to strengthen Save Our Shores ongoing coastal conservation efforts continuing to emphasize youth education and engagement and to sustain the organization’s commitment to advocate for smarter coastal policy and to actively engage community members and visitors alike. 

Santa Cruz, California – Michael Jones, Chair of Save Our Shores Board of Directors, announced today that Erica Donnelly-Greenan was selected to become Save Our Shores’ next Executive Director. After an extensive search, Jones said: “It is with great pleasure that the Board of Directors of Save Our Shores announces that Erica Donnelly-Greenan will join the organization as our new Executive Director. Her background as a marine conservation scientist and experience with organizations focused on threats to our region’s environment make her exceptionally qualified to lead Save Our Shores and fulfill its mission to steward clean shores, healthy habitats, and living waters to foster thriving marine ecosystems across our region.”

Erica Donnelly-Greenan will succeed Katherine O’Dea who has served as Save Our Shores’ Executive Director for six years. While working with Donnelly-Greenan to ensure a smooth transition of leadership, O’Dea observed “Erica is smart, insightful, energetic, passionate and eager to work with Save Our Shores’ inspired team. As retirement is bittersweet when one is passionate about the work they do, it’s uplifting to know that my successor has the qualifications, resourcefulness, and vision not only to sustain this beloved organization’s achievements but to take them to a next level of impact and influence."

In her prior capacity as Program Director for BeachCOMBERS, a citizen science program with Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, and through her research and science work with Moss Landing and Oikonos Ecosystem Knowledge, Ms. Donnelly-Greenan has worked to protect marine mammals and seabirds while tracking California coastal health. Her experience with marine facility operations; people management; and outreach with The Marine Mammal Center, Oikonos, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Seabird Protection Network, and other organizations will prove invaluable as she works with Save Our Shores staff and board members to strengthen and expand the organization’s well-established education, awareness, and advocacy efforts. She said, “I am excited to bring my experience to Save Our Shores and to support the team in their effective and growing endeavors in empowering coastal and inland communities with the knowledge and actionable framework to effectively save our shores for future generations!”

Ms. Donnelly-Greenan will essentially stay the course at Save Our Shores while still planning a vision and strategy refresh. She is eager to strengthen the organization’s connection to and collaboration with the renowned marine research community in both Santa Cruz and Monterey counties. She also intends to build upon and deepen the commitment to the diversification of Save Our Shores’ board of directors and staff established by her predecessor and to pursue additional pathways that will establish justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion as cornerstones of coastal conservation not only at Save Our Shores but among the organization’s many collaborators and partners.

Save Our Shores was founded in 1978 as a grassroots organization to prevent offshore drilling in the Monterey Bay and later helped to define and establish the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Since that time, it has continued to advance ocean conservation and efforts through impactful advocacy, awareness, and action while continuing to mobilize a large following of supporters and volunteers throughout the Monterey Bay Region. In recent years, Save Our Shore has been at the forefront of advocacy to combat plastic pollution and the climate crisis. In 2017, its multi-year campaign to end illegal sand mining along the Sanctuary’s shores resulted in an agreement for the shutdown of the CEMEX sand mine in Marina, CA which officially closed in November 2020. The June 2021 TRUTH + JUSTICE = HOPE—California Ocean & Climate Justice Mini-Fellowship and Summit, a collaboration with the Resource Center for Nonviolence, affirmed the organization’s commitment to integrating a call for environmental justice into its vision, mission, values, and actions.

Commenting on Ms. Donnelly-Greenan’s science background and her commitment to environmental justice work, Save Our Shores’ Director Jane Silberstein said, “I am very excited about having an Executive Director with such passion for ocean conservation, marine science, and social equity and inclusion focus.”

Ms. Donnelly-Greenan will start full-time as Save Our Shores’ new Executive Director on September 13, 2021.


Erica currently resides in Santa Cruz with her husband, two dogs, and cat —loving and grateful for everything the central coast has to offer!


Save Our Shores
345 Lake Avenue Suite A | Santa Cruz, California 95062
831.462.5660 |

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